18 August 1998
PREVENTION OF ORGANISED CRIME BILL, 1998
I thank you for your letter of 31 July 1998.
I am of the view that the Bill should not become Law in its present form.
My main objection in that in a number of respects the provisions are lacking in clarity. I mention the following examples:-
a. The definition of "criminal gangs" is ambiguous:
b. The definition of "criminal gang member" is ambiguous. The effect and meaning of the phrase "taken into account" is difficult to understand. It is not clear what is meant by "admits to criminal gangs membership". Is it sufficient if the person concerned has admitted to say, a friend, that he is a member of a criminal gang? The provisions of section (I)(iv)(b) are not clear. Is it sufficient if the parent or guardian has identified the person concerned as a member of a criminal gang to the police, or has it to be evidence given in court by the parent or guardian. What is meant by "documented reliable informant (section i(iv)(c)? What is recent by the phrase "usual criminal gang activity"?
c. The meaning of section (2e)(2) is unclear. Does it mean that hearsay evidence is admissible? What is the norm when considering whether the admission of evidence not ordinarily admissible might render a trail to be unfair?
d. The provisions of section 5 seems to lead to a pointless exercise. What are the consequences of a finding by the court that a reasonable suspicion exists that the property in question is concerned in the commission of an offence? If such an order is a precursor to a restraining order in terms of section 6 than the section should say so.
e. The meaning of section 18(4) is unclear and difficult to understand.